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California's Revised Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance Draws Continued Objections

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the so-don't-buy-it dept.

Privacy 411

The EFF has restated many of their original privacy objections about California's latest revision to the Pay-As-You-Drive auto insurance proposal. Admitting that the amended bill is an improvement, privacy advocates are still uneasy about the surveillance implications of this program. "The proposal centers on a simple idea: infrequent drivers are less of an insurance risk. By pricing policies according to the mileage driven, insurance companies can offer discounts to lower-risk infrequent drivers, and put an appropriate cost penalty on heavy drivers. The state estimates that 30% adoption of PAYD insurance nationwide would reduce miles driven by at least 10% among subscribers, and save 55 million tons of CO2 over the next ten years. The benefits of such a system could be quite dramatic, as California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is sure to emphasize. Such insurance plans first became available in 2004, and are now available as a limited option in 30 US states from insurance companies like Progressive and Liberty Mutual."

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Bike, nigga stole my bike! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733929)

aaadddriaaaannn

Oh crap. (0, Flamebait)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733973)

Another oppressive government plan to coerce people to emit less carbon dioxide.

--
Chuck Norris doesn't need Twitter. He's already following you!

Re:Oh crap. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734085)

C02 = Plant Food.
"Global Warming" is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.

Re:Oh crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734411)

He has a point, despite being a troll. If your only concern is CO2, growing more plants works just as well as reducing emissions. The only problem is that there are gases that are released that cause much more damage than CO2, that aren't absorbed by plants. That's why "tons of CO2" is a horrible metric for emissions. It's even worse than LoC's.

Re:Oh crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734481)

your brain = worm food.

Re:Oh crap. (5, Insightful)

NiteMair (309303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734089)

I dunno about others, but all of a sudden, I'd have an incentive to find the shortest router from point A to point B, even if that means city-streets instead of expressway. This means I'll be sitting in heavy traffic, clogging up the streets, taking longer to reach my destination, and probably causing more accidents and safety issues.

Re:Oh crap. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734101)

I guess it's true what they say: The shortest router isn't always the fastest router.

Re:Oh crap. (1)

NiteMair (309303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734141)

Guess my fingers just wanted to type that r on their own ;)

Re:Oh crap. (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734467)

Try living in Maine. You start writing "int maine(int, char**)" and similar things all over the place. Some you don't notice, like street names, since they're capitalized anyway.

Re:Oh crap. (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734509)

Just ask Linksys.

Re:Oh crap. (2, Interesting)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734193)

I dunno about others, but all of a sudden, I'd have an incentive to find the shortest router from point A to point B, even if that means city-streets instead of expressway. This means I'll be sitting in heavy traffic, clogging up the streets, taking longer to reach my destination, and probably causing more accidents and safety issues.

Interesting. Perhaps we should base it on a combination of milage and total engine revolutions. I've always wanted an RevOdometer (or hours of operation meter) on cars anyway. That way you could tell if the used Crown Vic you're about to buy was used mostly on highway trips to and from Minnesota to Florida, or used as a taxi cab.

Re:Oh crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734357)

Perhaps we should base it on a combination of milage and total engine revolutions.

In that case, big engines beat small engines (even though they're less efficient), and Diesel beats Gasoline. Not sure where that puts electric/hybrid cars.

Re:Oh crap. (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734263)

how do you measure the length of a router? is it the distance between the i/o ports or something?

Re:Oh crap. (1)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734333)

What's the insurance on a router? And which model are you using? I could see one of those big 10k systems being road worthy, but puttering around on 2100 series, you sir are a brave man!

Re:Oh crap. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734099)

bah... you could run every car on earth 24/7 and it wouldn't do half the damage as the 2 real issues behind any climate change we may be seeing.

1. Big AgBusiness.. The crap we're allowing these mega corps to dump into the water, killing a key filter our planet uses for processing O2 and CO2, is a war crime w/o a war.

Big Agbusines pt 2 .. 7 football fields of old growth forest cut down every *day* in South America.

2. The acre after acre of tropical vegetation we've poured Agent Orange on in central and south america in the name of our 'war on drugs'.. Yes, lil timmy won't be able to get as much pot after school, but he'll need to take a boat to get home.

I have no issue with the people of our planet collectively tackling the issue of climate change. I do have an issue with making up fake boogy men and ignoring the real ones that only have better lobbyists on their side.

Bell curve??? (4, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733979)

How is someone who drives less better at driving? It would seem someone who drives less frequently is less practiced and would be a greater risk as compared to someone who is a regular driver. There must be some sort of bell curve where the people on the ends pay more.

Re:Bell curve??? (3, Informative)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734053)

It's not whether they are better at driving, it is that the risk of them being in an accident is smaller, as they interact less with other drivers, who maybe bad drivers.

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Interesting)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734153)

Actually, from what I recall this is not the case.

Most accidents happen within, I think it was five or ten miles of a person's home.

So, just because people are driving "less miles" doesn't necessarily equate to "less risk" if the above is true (or at least close).

Re:Bell curve??? (5, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734237)

Most accidents happen within, I think it was five or ten miles of a person's home.

Most driving happens within five or ten miles of a person's home.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734367)

It depends on what sorts of trips people are taking. If they rack up the miles on long trips (greater than five or ten miles) less miles wouldn't correlate so strongly with less risk. However if people rack up those miles with lots of sub-ten mile trips then indeed less miles would equal less risk.

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Interesting)

dgcaste (1230640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734553)

Citation needed.

Re:Bell curve??? (3, Informative)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734087)

How is someone who drives less better at driving?

Not better at driving. Less of an insurance risk. At one extreme end of the scale you have the person who doesn't drive at all - just leaves his car in the driveway. Almost zero risk. At the opposite extreme end you have people who spend most of their lives driving - almost certainly higher risk of being in an accident even if it's a freak accident that you can't really blame them for. I don't have the stats so maybe I'm wrong but it does seem likely that you can identify a class of low freqency drivers that are unlikely to have an accident because they spend little time driving.

Re:Bell curve??? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734103)

I know it is common practice on Slashdot to speculate beased on no more information than your initial gut reaction, but this sort of thing is actually the core business of insurance companies. They have people who are quite skilled statisticians, call actuaries, who fiddle over mountains of data to decide how much to charge who in order to maximize profit while still being able to offer comeptitive premiums.

Because you know what a bell curve is doesn't put you in league with these people and your elementary passive aggressive questions do nothing to further anyone's understanding of anything. Not even your own.

Re:Bell curve??? (5, Informative)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734117)

Of course a driver who drives more is higher risk. Suppose that over my lifetime I drive one million miles. And my friend, who likes hugging trees, saving whales and composting his lunch leftovers in his pocket, only drives a lifetime total of 100k miles.
Why would his first 100k miles be any less risky than my first 100k miles? The risk of my first 100k miles will not be lessened by the fact that I intend to drive more in the future.
Therefore, unless I have zero risk of an accicident in my final 900k miles, my lifetime risks are higher than his, all other things being equal.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734211)

Because he's a hippy and doesn't a job. Those 900k extra miles you spend are driving to and from work, which is statistically when most people get into accidents because they are less alert due to the routine of that drive. When you drive spontaneously you are typically more alert and suffer less accidents.

My insurance company already adjusts my premiums based on the distance between my residence and place of employment as well as the total number of miles I drive.

Re:Bell curve??? (0, Redundant)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734257)

However, all things are not equal.

How do you get better at doing anything? You do it. You'd be a much better driver, having had more experiences on the road, been in more different areas, and conditioned daily to the rigors of driving. And that's the problem; there's no way to measure one's experience to offset the amount of miles driven when there should be.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734331)

Well his first 100k miles is more spread out (you are measuring by lifetime, by definition an average). It could be argued that infrequent driving results in less familiarity and therefor makes the person more nervous behind the wheel and more prone to error.

I know for a fact this can happen as there was a period of my life where I did not have a car for 7 or 8 months and my driving skills definitely deteriorated in that time. It is like a bicycle, in that you never forget HOW to drive, but it still took some weeks for me to feel comfortable driving again.

That said, I believe insurance should be pretty much flat rate, scaled to the type of car you drive. Higher rates for people who have been convicted of driving while using a phone and children under 20 or so.

Re:Bell curve??? (4, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734123)

Even if driver safety is inversely proportional to driving time, it is so at some ratio less than 1:1.

That is, consider 3 people. Bob drives 1 mile a year, and has a 1% chance of getting in an accident for every mile he drives. Tom drives 100 miles a year and has a .1% chance of getting in an accident for every mile he drives. Jim drives 10000 miles a year and has a .01% chance of getting in an accident for every mile he drives.

Bob is going to get in one accident every 100 years. Tom is going to get in 1 accident every 10 years. Jim is going to get in 1 accident every year.

To be more realistic I would say decrease the %s by a factor of 1000, and increase the miles by a factor of 10.

Why does Bob's insurance cost almost as much as Jim's, currently?

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734187)

This also depends upon the region in which you live as well. That same scenario would work for people who live in Iowa but place them in LA and that person who never drives has a much higher chance of getting into an accident VS the people who drive regularly.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734287)

Read my post again. I agree that they might have a much higher chance while they are driving, but they still drive less. If I get in 1 accident every mile and you get in 1 accident every 10k miles, then I have a "much higher chance" of getting in accidents than you. But if I drive 1 mile per year and you drive 100k miles per year you are still going to get in 10x as many accidents as I do.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734435)

Why does Bob's insurance cost almost as much as Jim's, currently?

It probably doesn't, but are there things like comprehensive attached to the bill? If a tree falls on the car, is it covered? In that case, it doesn't matter how much the car is driven, both cars exist and thus have relatively the same chance of something happening to it while parked.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734319)

well, i think there are 2 parameters to get a complete picture or risk - time spent driving, and ability. the problem is that ability depends on time spent driving, among other things. it's like a messy bayes net, only worse.

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

NiteMair (309303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734443)

Maybe a few more parameters: How safe of a vehicle you drive (Giant SUV vs. small economy car), and perhaps where you drive (Freeway vs. City traffic)... Whether you primarily drive during the day or night, the weather patterns in your area, etc.

In fact, when I think about it...there are endless parameters that can be applied to measure a "complete picture of risk" (your own words, after all).

Re:Bell curve??? (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734533)

well, i was just talking about the driver. but of course you're right. and i'm sure insurance companies have fine-tuned a lot of AI to calculate that stuff pretty well.

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Informative)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734409)

I do believe that is the etymology of the phrase "Sunday Driver." There were usually less cars on the roads on Sundays so those people drove as if there was no one else on the road with them.

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734465)

"How is someone who drives less better at driving?"

The same way someone who's learned how to ride a bike doesn't suddenly stop knowing how to ride a bike. Driving is not difficult, and I imagine if you did a study of infrequent drivers, there would be small re-adjustment period (for things like parallel parking, etc) before they reached the levels of long time drivers, but for regular driving their would be a negligible difference.

Re:Bell curve??? (2, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734485)

You young whippersnapper! I have been driving for 96 years and never get into any of those accidents I always keep hearing right behind me the few times I drive. It is unsafe to drive any faster then my standard 15 miles per hour in the fast lane on the freeway so just don't do it. now I don't want to hear you anymore so I am turning off my hearing aid.

I drive exactly as much as I need to (5, Insightful)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733985)

Why would anyone think that paying by the mile would reduce the amount I'm driving?

I don't go on long jaunts around the town just for the hell of it, I go because I need to get somewhere, or pick something up.

So pretty much what this would do is either be a savings for me--because it'd be less than my buffet style policy--or it'd be more expensive for me. I'm guessing that the majority of people, myself included, would fall into the latter category.

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734201)

Why would anyone think that paying by the mile would reduce the amount I'm driving?

I doubt anyone in this situation has concerned themselves with you specifically, but I imagine they base their expectations on the rise in gasoline prices a couple of years having shown that its price elasticity of demand wasn't quite what everyone thought. Since demand for gasoline dropped sooner than expected it is true that cost per mile will eventually force people to cut back on driving.

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (2, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734539)

Um, I believe the problem was that gas prices rose, people didn't (or couldn't cut back) and that this likely contributed to the recession. Remember, most agree it started in 2007, when prices were climbing. It wouldn't be suprising that as people were paying more for gas they were spending less on everything else (and the oil companies pocketed the profit).

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734215)

Assuming that market forces remain in action, causing the profit margin of the insurance company to remain constant (if their average policy price increases, they will lose more customers than they gain), they will have to lower some policy prices as others raise.

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734229)

Why do people buy pay-as-they-go cellphones? Who knows, but clearly some people use them.

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (2, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734363)

Because no provider offers a 100 minute plan. I use less than 100 minutes per month. At 10 cents per minute and $1 per day used I spend about $20/mo. I could get a LOT more minutes for $40/mo, but I don't need them.

Re:I drive exactly as much as I need to (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734341)

Then your miles won't be reduced but for people that drive for reasons other than necessity will probably cut back to save money.

Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28733987)

I get cheap insurance because I only drive on weekends. My insurance company just wants to check the reading on my car's mileage meter every six months or so.

I don't understand why anything more invasive than that is at all necessary to give a break to infrequent drivers.

Re:Privacy? (3, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734291)

I get cheap insurance because I only drive on weekends. My insurance company just wants to check the reading on my car's mileage meter every six months or so.

Lucky you. Back when I had a long commute -- despite the fact that I took mass transit to my office (with a two-mile drive to the train station) my insurance company assumed I drove to my office each day. I provided train receipts, pictures of my odometer, etc... I offered to have their agent inspect my odometer in person... but to no avail. They based their rates on a 120-mile round trip despite the fact that I drove four miles daily.

I eventually switched insurance carriers, but I overpaid on my insurance for six months because those douchebags couldn't grok the idea that someone might take mass transit even when they own a car.

Re:Privacy? (4, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734449)

I agree. Odometer checks seem far less invasive, and cheaper, than GPS. Also, already illegal to tamper with, while I can think of all sorts of ways to interfere with GPS tracking.

how could it save... (4, Insightful)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733989)

just don't know how it can save "55 million tons of CO2 a year"....people who drive a little will continue to drive a little with this insurance or not.

I hate it when they fudge numbers and try to draw a causation out of it.
A chicken didn't lay an egg because there was a law passed that gave tax incentives to the chickens to lay eggs....

I hate it even more when politicians take credit for something that has nothing to do with anything.

Re:how could it save... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734531)

just don't know how it can save "55 million tons of CO2 a year"....people who drive a little will continue to drive a little with this insurance or not.

The idea is to make insurance costs like gas costs. People are generally aware that driving more uses more gas, which costs more. Insurance is a bill, paid at verious intervals, which bears little relationship to the miles I drive. Yes, I might have told the insurance company that I drive 15k miles per year, but, with this insurance, I know that the 15 mile trip down the road will cost me a couple of dollars in gas and a couple of dollars in insurance, I might just reconsider. More importantly, I might consider structural changes in my driving patterns -- trying to share a ride to/from work.

Re:how could it save... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734547)

I hate it even more when politicians take credit for something that has nothing to do with anything.

If politicians stopped taking credit for things like that, most politicians would have nothing at all to their credit.

Re:how could it save... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734549)

You think this won't increase carpooling? I'd be more likely switch to carpooling. I might not switch, but I'd be more likely to.

Less driving = lower risk? (2, Insightful)

werdnapk (706357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28733991)

Couldn't you say that a driver who drives less has less driver experience than somebody who drives more? Therefore the driver who drives less could be a higher risk?

Re:Less driving = lower risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734057)

Driving ~100 miles a day myself, on the same routes mostly, I find that I've really slowed down a lot over the years, spending more time watching for areas I know can be potentially dangerous (certain intersections, areas where merging occurs, etc.)

Furthermore, freeway driving is generally a lot safer and faster than city-street driving - so I would be inclined to stay on the freeway longer even if it isn't the shortest distance between two points.

Re:Less driving = lower risk? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734165)

Less experience driving means for traveling a given distance there is a higher likelyhood of an accident. But if one is traveling a lot less, then the overall risk might still be lower. That's presumably what is going on here.

Re:Less driving = lower risk? (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734191)

Couldn't you say that a driver who drives less has less driver experience than somebody who drives more?

Certainly.

Therefore the driver who drives less could be a higher risk?

Not necessarily (and apparently not - unless you can think of a good reason why the insurance companies would lie in a way that would cost them more money by misclassifying risk).

Remember, what an insurance company considers "risk" and what you (as a road user) consider "risk" are not the same thing. The insurance company is concerned about their profits. You are concerned about your life.

Re:Less driving = lower risk? (3, Insightful)

eth1 (94901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734495)

Cost them money? Not likely. Mark my words, they'll charge people that drive less the same that they pay now, and charge people that drive the most even more.

The Most Interesting Man in the World (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734005)

I don't drive very often, but when I do drive, I always have a case of Dos Equis with me.

I'm not sure I agree (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734013)

People that drive less are less of an insurance risk? Perhaps as the time driven approaches zero ... but I would think people that drive well are way less of an insurance risk. This assumes of course that they only need to pay out when at fault. Shouldn't this at least be weighted by some sort of driving test that evaluated real-world conditions?

Re:I'm not sure I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734131)

People that drive less are less of an insurance risk?

Yes, that is true. If you are not driving the vehicle, the risk of an at-fault collision is pretty close to zero.

If your car is parked at home, it is still at risk for theft and collisions caused by others, but the total risk drops significantly if no one is driving the car. So normally the more miles you drive the higher the insurance premium.

but I would think people that drive well are way less of an insurance risk.

True, but it is very hard to objectively measure driving skill, so the insurance industry uses proxies, like have you caused a collision, or do you have any traffic tickets.

Re:I'm not sure I agree (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734329)

The fact that they use tickets is pretty retarded. Its supposed to be an indicator that you're more likely to get in accidents, but what if you just get dozens of speeding tickets but actually get in no accidents?

Personally my insurance is expensive because I get about 1.5 speeding tickets per year, but haven't been in a speed related accident in over a decade, and I haven't been in an at fault accident in the same period of time. I understand charging people more when they cost the company more but people getting tickets in no way actually effects them, other than to be used as an excuse to raise people's rates and fund the traffic school industry.

Re:I'm not sure I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734457)

In other words, you _have_ been in speed-related accident(s) more than 10 years ago, AND you _have_ been in accidents you don't consider to be speed-related or consider to be your fault more recently. Still, you continue to speed and continue to get speeding tickets. Yep, your insurance is expensive for good reason. As it should be!

Re:I'm not sure I agree (1)

kpainter (901021) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734545)

People that drive less are less of an insurance risk?
Yes, that is true...
but I would think people that drive well are way less of an insurance risk.
True, but it is very hard to objectively measure driving skill...

So, by that logic, if I had the choice of flying on an airline with a pilot that has 10,000 hours is by far worse than if I were to fly on one where the pilot has say 100 hours?

Re:I'm not sure I agree (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734169)

Shouldn't this at least be weighted by some sort of driving test that evaluated real-world conditions?

No. It should be (and almost certainly is) weighted by statistical analysis of actual insurance payouts.

Re:I'm not sure I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734453)

How do you judge if someone is a good driver? Do you test them, then raise the cost of insurance to cover the cost of testing and also end up with false information because the person drove a hell of a lot better than they normally would because they were being tested by their insurance company and the results can make a big difference in their insurance costs?

There is no real reliable way to determine if someone is a good driver other than how many accidents they were in and you are much more likely to be in an accident the more you drive. It's not even a case of how good you are. When driving you have to deal with other bad drivers, car faults, road conditions, etc. The more you drive the more you are likely to run into one of these things that can cause an accident.

So charging people by how much the drive is fair. Certainly more so than charging people more just because of their age or their gender.

Not just privacy concerns (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734015)

but it lacks any practicality fo California.

All this will do is make insurance unaffordable to low income families that have toi drive due to the distance they must commute. Meaning more uninsured motorists.

They al ready take it into account some what, and that's enough.

This is just attempt to squeeze another dime out of people who must have this service.

Quite frankly, if the Government is going to mandate insurance, then it should also offer a base insurance program, at cost.
Just one that covers the minimum insurance levels. If you want more, then you can buy more from an insurance company.

Re:Not just privacy concerns (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734223)

They do that here in Quebec. A level of liability insurance is provided by the province and is bundled into your car registration fee. I think some of it is also built into your drivers license fee, which is interesting, because it means you effectively pay a base insurance premium to have a drivers license, and a higher premium if you also have a car of your own.

Re:Not just privacy concerns (0, Offtopic)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734383)

Quite frankly, if the Government is going to mandate insurance, then it should also offer a base insurance program, at cost.

The government can and should mandate insurance on PUBLIC roads.

But to make travel affordable, it should have more public transit.

Re:Not just privacy concerns (1)

tilandal (1004811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734439)

Don't be absurd man! If the government offered insurance to people at cost then it would be cheaper then any private insurance company. Soon Big Government insurance will drive all the other insurance companies out of business!

Really! I mean it!

Please just ignore all the money insurance lobbyists are paying me.

Please....

insurance at the gas pump (5, Interesting)

hypethetica (739528) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734025)

I'd always thought it would be a neat idea to roll auto insurance in at the gas pump. No more uninsured drivers, plus it would be an incentive to reduce driving. obviously LOTS of holes in the plan, but it would eliminate the big brother aspect of this proposal.

Re:insurance at the gas pump (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734335)

Awesome! With this idea i'll be able to afford the $100,000 Tesla Roadster, because someone with a beater will be paying for me.

Re:insurance at the gas pump (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734415)

On the surface, that sounds good. But how do you differentiate between drivers and their rates? Should a driver with a 20 year perfect record pay the same as a 19 year old with 4 speeding tickets and 2 serious accidents? Or differentiating between different cars. A VW Beetle vs a Mustang Cobra. Same insurance rate at the pump?

Re:insurance at the gas pump (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734519)

"but it would eliminate the big brother aspect of this proposal."

It wouldn't, you'd just replace one big brother (government) with another (corporation) it amazes me that americans think private corporations have their best interests at heart, ever looked at the kind of security and monitoring equipment in many modern businesses? The analyze everything about you're shopping for instance.

Quite frankly there is no privacy once you walk into a corporate building or store for instance.

I don't get it (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734033)

Insurance companies already charge more if you drive more; all of them that I know of ask how much you drive. I actually started to RTFA, but there's little to no explanation of what the "pay as you go" does, and as I don't live in California it's not likely to affect me unless it's adopted by other states.

Can anybody clarify for me?

But that is nonsensical! (3, Insightful)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734035)

Sunday drivers have got to be the most dangerous people on the road.

Someone who drives 100K miles a year is going to have a lot more miles between accidents than someone who does 5K.

Re:But that is nonsensical! (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734127)

The insurance company doesn't care how many miles you drive between accidents, it cares about how many accidents you have between years.

Re:But that is nonsensical! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734231)

Close but not quite.

The insurance company doesn't care how many miles you drive between accidents, it cares about how many accidents you have between premiums.

Choice (2, Insightful)

Will Work For Joules (1599949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734043)

I would have no problem with this if people were actually given the choice of whether to sign up for a pay-as-you-drive plan, but as it stands, this hurts consumer choice without any real benefits. It is unlikely that people will really drive less, because they still need to get to their jobs and to stores that are miles away from their homes. If we want people to drive less, we should be investing in mass-transit systems which will help them do that, thereby increasing consumer choice rather than decreasing it.

Pay as you breathe. (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734051)

I have decided that in light of our depleting ozone layer, that I will begin charging for everyone who is breathing my air. You see, it was only my great ancestor Muk'targ of the Great Cave who was in charge of all the sky. His Gods told him so. So therefore he has passed this great gift to me and me alone. So as of right now, the entire population of the Earth owes me for each breath of air they take. Now if you can't pay, that's okay too. Because I will use my new portal device to adapt the air you breathe so you only have to pay for what you use. Now if you happen to die because you don't pay, how could you expect this to be my problem? Oh and the rates will be raised very little. Maybe only 2000% per year.

Wait until health insurance companies hear this. (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734061)

I can see health insurance companies adopting this logic:

People who frequently exercise are less of an insurance risk. By pricing policies according to the amount of physical activity a person gets, insurance companies can offer discounts to healthier people, and put an appropriate cost penalty on basement-dwelling nerds, obese people, and other physically-unfit people.

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (1)

Ajaxamander (646536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734105)

Is there some kind of petition I can sign to get this rolling?

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734303)

and life insurance companies would charge the active people more as they walk/cycle more and ate therefore at a higher risk of getting run over by a vehicle...

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734311)

Hate to break it to you, but many already offer discounts for active lifestyles and quitting smoking, etc.

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734375)

Except that we do know this to be true... its been proven in scientific studies. Do you have a study that shows driving more increases your risk for an accident?

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734517)

Except that we do know this to be true... its been proven in scientific studies. Do you have a study that shows driving more increases your risk for an accident?

I guess this is appeal to authority, but actuaries aren't generally known for their wild flights of fantasy. If Insurance companies are offering lower premiums for people who drive shorter distances then it's almost certainly because statistically they pay out less in claims to those drivers. Is there really some reason to suppose otherwise?

Re:Wait until health insurance companies hear this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734431)

How do you monitor this?

Lower Prices my Ass (2, Insightful)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734121)

You think insurance companies will lower prices for the average Joe with this? I think not. Their claim experience isn't going to change, and they need to charge X dollars to all customers combined so they make a profit. They're still going to need to charge X dollars, so what's going to happen? Heavy drivers will pay *more*, and everybody else will pay about the same as they are now. Bah!

maybe but... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734137)

I mean, it sorta makes sense... but then again it also doesn't.

First I would point out that someone who drives 20k miles a year for 5 years drives 100k miles. A person who drives 5 k miles a year only drives 25k miles. So essentially, the 20k miles driver has 75k miles more driving experience than the lower milliage driver....

I would expect that sort of difference to start to really add up.

That said, the point of insurance is to mitigate risk by spreading it over many individuals. While it makes some amount of sense to charge relatively higher risk people more, doesn't it, eventually, start to defeat the purpose when you keep looking for more and more ways to do that?

Of course, it mostly makes sense if you assume the higher prices for the more risky people actually means lower prices for the less risky, when I would bet the reality is that the only way low miliage drivers will "pay less" is that they will "pay less than the new surcharge on the high milliage drivers" and not in any way, "less than what they pay now"

Kind o flike here in MA where the insurance companies are given license to surcharge for "offenses" like "not having the registration paper in the car" (sure its an offence, but its still a valid registration with valid insurance.... how exactly is not having the paper itself in the car... which contains no infomration that a police officer can't look up from his car in under 20 seconds... is a problem for them)

or how they support "traffic safety cameras" which have been shown to increase accidents at intersections. Makes sense.... major accidents cost money. However, the massive number of tickets and minor fender benders those cameras generate are an absolute windfall for the insurance company when they can hit you with YEARS of surcharges.

-Steve

Re:maybe but... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734393)

>> So essentially, the 20k miles driver has 75k miles more driving experience than the lower milliage driver....

Yeah they might be more experienced as a result of driving 3X more miles, but they're also 3X more exposed to the risk of an accident caused by someone else too.

You can't directly calculate experience and ability (not least because even for a given driver they're not constant over even a single day or journey) so basically they jsut use a formula like 'n accidents occur per mile driven as a state or national average'. They just assume everyone is average. Yes it does benefit the worst drivers at the cost of the best, but then democracy is always like that, which is why democracy sucks.

This system is already in place! (3, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734177)

WTF? Am I missing something? Last time I got insurance for a vehicle (in California!), the guy writing the policy asked me how many miles I expect to drive per year. They have a number of mileage brackets that are used in the calculation of your premium. The more miles you drive in a year, the more money you pay. Back in the before time, I had a classic car that was a weekend ride. Insurance was cheap because it was classified as "pleasure use" and driven less than a thousand miles per year. I don't think I've ever had a situation where the estimated annual mileage wasn't used to calculate the premium.

Re:This system is already in place! (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734253)

Except that now they aren't going to ask you, they'd monitor you.

What's so difficult about it? (0, Troll)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734197)

Not going to RTFA article, but I can't see how you could screw this up. Let everyone self-report their mileage and then recover whatever you had to pay out if an accident occurs and mileage is off by more than 20% or so. That's the system used here (Europe) and I've never heard anyone complain about it. No privacy violations involved, either. If you don't trust the self-reporting, it'd be easy to verify mileage in regular intervals by tying it to i. e. existing mandatory emissions & safety checks.

Re:What's so difficult about it? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734285)

Indeed. The states already make you get your car inspected on a fairly regular basis, and doubly so for California emissions standards. Why not just track mileage readings there? Why all the GPS shenanigans?

Insurance by the mile is in Texas (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734281)

I'm using Milemeter.com in Texas, it's billed by the mile. I'm paying about half of what I payed my previous company with same coverage.
But it only works people driving under 12k a year.

Milliage RISK (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734307)

I drive from Nor Cal to So Cal, over 500 miles, one way, several times a year to visit family. I'm at far less risk than grandma Owho barely drives 500 miles in a month, or the teen who is an idiot with her cell phone (even though it is illegal already) or ....

THIS is the problem with Government. It is a ONE SIZE FITS ALL program that doesn't fit anyone. I've been driving over 20 years, with exactly 4 accidents, none of them my fault.

I have a 13 year old vehicle, bought new, with 150,000 miles on it, that hasn't had one insurance claim. I know some people who can't make 40K without totalling their vehicle.

Everytime someone says ... "there ought to be a law" get ready to bend over!

Just one more reason (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28734343)

To avoid Kalifornia.....the Land of Fruits and Nuts.

proposal (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734379)

let's just stick a gps chip in everybody's skull, make its location publicly available, and be done with the whole privacy thing. then we wouldn't have to spend so much time worrying about it.

Distribution of Risk + Cost? (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734427)

I thought the point of insurance was to distribute risk and cost over a group for both the insurer and the driver so that no single individual would be overwhelmed from unexpected expenses. This plan reduces the risk and cost to the insurer but transfers cost from one group of drivers to another group of drivers. It's another step toward customizing insurance plans to a single person customized insurance plan--rendering insurance worthless for those at high risk, yet it's required by law. If one were to apply this to medical insurance in that those who use more pay more, there would be public outcry.

What's wrong with odometer readings? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734497)

Why does everything have to have a technological fix like an electronic device to track and send in odometer readings? What's the real problem with requiring customers to send in odometer readings at policy renewal time? The California smog check results are already sent electronically to the DMV, so the odometer info can be furnished to the insurance companies to help fight fraud. For areas that don't require a smog check, the insurance company can randomly require some small subset of their drivers to have them odometer reading verified.

I can't believe many people will violate federal law to commit fraud by unhooking their odometers. This is already illegal, and somehow the leasing companies are willing to trust the odometer readings, and there is a substantial financial penalty for exceeding lease mileage limits thus creating a large incentive for fraud. And if someone does lie about their odometer reading and has an accident, the insurance adjuster can report the milage to the company so they can verify the mileage.

Besides, I always figured that modern cars wouldn't operate well without a working speed sensor. If the odometer is so easy to bypass, then maybe this issue can be addressed through the car companies. It's already illegal to bypass the odometer, so the car may as well enforce that.

Sounds pretty wrong (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734525)

The annual estimates used by my current insurance provider seems to work well enough. And if that isn't proof enough, they could simply track my odometer readings when they do the emissions inspections or something.

Being an infrequent (and thus probably inexperienced) driver doesn't necessarily make you less of a risk. My car insurance is currently pretty dirt cheap ($400 / yr.) due to many factors (it's our only car, we're married and over 25, and our speeding and accident record has been clean for the past 5+ years). But we drive plenty, both for work and recreation... at least 15k / yr.

In fact, the one time I did get into an accident, it took two other morons acting in concert... one in front of me to stop at a green light, and one in a fully-loaded Mack behind me to stop not.

Anyway, I'm all in favor of using technology to improve things like traffic reporting and stuff like that, but I don't think insurance is one of the primary applications.

why don't they just (1)

shingwedzi (194328) | more than 5 years ago | (#28734541)

give everyone free auto insurance and increase gas taxes by enough to cover it.

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